The Resistance Kitchen
Things are going bad, to put it mildly. And not just here in Poland. Women’s social position, so hard-won in the previous century, is under threat. To express my protest and channel my rage I choose to use irony, the tried and tested weapon. My gastronomic response is The Resistance Kitchen.
The Resistance Kitchen is a form of quiet fight against the aggressor. A few efficient – deadly dishes may be the only tool of resistance available to women. We have been stripped of other forms by power-holders. Resorting to knowledge of poisonous plants is a way to discover the connection between generations of women and an independent handling of the lack of legally binding instruments against domestic violence.
The Resistance Kitchen is also a form of the Women’s Strike.
Krakow, 8 March 2017.
Dom Norymberski, Kraków
The film is a work of fiction and is not intended as instructions.
Fragment of the text from the show Home Strike at l’etrangere, London, UK by Basia Śliwińska and Alexandra Kokoli:
The home is also conceived as a batle ground in the work of Małgorzata Markiewicz, who targets the domestic fantasy of family life and its disruptive effects. Markiewicz methodically unpicks the pervasive and insidious structure of ‘home’, the associated obligation to nurture and the bourgeois expectation for women to subordinate, entertain and satisfy, while making themselves into complicit and pleasing objects for and of display. Her embodied strategy of disruptive laughter and insolent confrontation is portrayed through her implicit gastronomic response The Resistance Kitchen (2017). In this video (3’50”), the artist, wearing a military double breasted trench coat, presents the viewer with a selection of ingredients, including poisonous plants, to prepare deadly dishes, which, as she says ‘may be the only tool of resistance available to women.’ Here, domesticity expands into a wider sphere, that of nation-states and national politics. The video starts with a simple statement, ‘Things are going bad, to put it mildly. And not just here in Poland.’ Markiewicz critiques the current right-wing Polish government, which in the past couple of years has repeatedly violated women’s rights: for example, in the Autumn of 2016 the ruling party, Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość or PiS, a national right-wing conservative party) proposed to add restrictions to access to abortion, pre-natal care and contraceptives. This resulted in women’s protests across the country, which went viral on social media under the hashtag#CzarnyProtest/ #blackprotest and encouraged international response. The protests were organised to protect fundamental human rights that the Polish government intended to take away from women. Also in 2016, the Polish Ministry of Justice initiated a draft bill that called for the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a treaty focused on the prevention and combating of violence against women. The Convention was branded a source of evil ‘gender ideology’ harmful and dangerous to Polish traditional values. The funding for several women’s rights nongovernmental organisations, including the Women’s Rights Centre and Baba, was withdrawn, for alleged discrimination against men, as they supported only female survivors of domestic violence. Markiewicz picks a fight against violence concerning women’s rights and calls women to defend themselves and ‘join the resistance kitchen’, in a radical subversion of care-giving. She stages a virtual eviction of patriarchy from the domesticity of ‘home’, performing the blessed role of a wilful homemaker and hostess. Released for International Women’s Day on
8th March 2017, the video reclaims women’s agency on both psychical and symbolic levels. In the spirit of second wave feminism, visual activism and contemporary feminist art practice Markiewicz both represents and activates resistance.